Mas fails to defend Catalonia’s interests

The perversity of the Spanish tax system is that Catalonia, while is being plundered every year 40% of taxes collected in Catalonia which never come back, has just been forced by Spain to a humiliating bailout.

The yearly fiscal deficit of Catalonia with Spain amounts to 18 billion euros for a population of 7.5 million.

How can the system be such that the net contributor to the finances of a state, Catalonia, needs to be bailed out with their own money? How can Spain blame Catalonia for the state of their dire finances when most services are provided by Catalonia but most debt is caused by the Spanish government spending?

Catalan President Mas and its government have failed today to defend Catalonia’s interests and has opened the possibility for Spain to suppress Catalonia’s institutions. In the terms that Mas’ party voted for in Madrid.

Mas promised he would achieve fiscal independence for Catalonia during this term but instead his government has surrendered what was left of Catalonia’s self government to Spain in a silver platter for a mere 5 billion euros. Mas has failed to stand for its country.

Because essentially after the bailout, any deviation from the deficit targets by Catalonia, which it will not meet because of the general state of the economy, will mean that the Spanish Government will be able to decide exactly how every euro cent will be spent in Catalonia (CA). So it will be almost impossible to stop things like this or this from happening.

Not to speak of the public and international humiliation at having Catalonia be seen as an irresponsible country and the damage to its image and credibility because the Catalan Government has failed to explain the situation.

Mas should resign immediately and call for elections.

No em crec això d’Eurovegas

Acabo d’enviar el següent text al President Mas per a explicar-li que no em puc creure el que llegeixo sobre com el Govern està a favor d’aquest complex d’oci.

Si voleu enviar un missatge al President ho podeu fer a la seva web:

“Molt Honorable President Mas,

Últimament plouen les notícies sobre com el seu govern s’està implicant força a donar suport a un projecte per a portar un complexe d’oci de l’estil de Las Vegas a Barcelona. Però jo no m’ho crec. No m’ho crec perquè el seu partit defensa un model de turisme de qualitat per al nostre país. Perquè vosté mateix ha afirmat que Catalunya ha de ser la Massachusetts del Mediterrani o la Holanda del Sud, i que nosaltres som un país seriós. I això no encaixa amb Las Vegas.

No em crec que vulguin portar Eurovegas a Catalunya perquè sembla ser que el projecte espera trobar dos terços del finançament del projecte per bancs locals. Vol dir això que els diners del futur rescat europeu anirien a parar a finançar Eurovegas? Vol dir que és la millor manera d’emprar aquests diners?

No m’ho crec perquè amb els diners que costa aquest complex es poden crear moltes empreses d’alt valor afegit o impulsar les ja existents mitjançant excempcions o rebaixes fiscals que les permetin crèixer i ser competitives a escala global. Estic segur que el seu govern n’és conscient.

No em crec que es plantegin autoritzar Eurovegas perquè s’haurien d’adaptar lleis antitabac, lleis urbanístiques, lleis fiscals i de treball especialment per a aquest projecte. Des de quan un país s’adapta a una empresa? no hauria de ser al revés?

I perquè no em crec que es vulgui tirar endavant un projecte que associarà Barcelona i Catalunya per sempre més amb oci i joc tipus Las Vegas i tot el que això comportarà.

Perquè no crec que crear una quantitat encara indefinida de llocs de treball de baixa qualificació i baixa remuneració és una raó prou poderosa com per a decantar el gir estratègic de país que la creació d’aquest complexe suposaria. Economia de turisme low cost en comptes de economia basada en el coneixement i amb un turisme respectuós amb l’entorn.

Catalunya és un pais petit, no com els Estats Units, que es poden permetre tenir una Nevada i un Massachusetts. Nosaltres hem d’escollir.

Perquè no em crec que a aquestes alçades vuilguin tirar endavant un projecte que potencialment afavorirà el sector de la construcció després de la bombolla immobiliària que encara s’està desinflant. En comptes de definitivament girar fulla i posar rumb cap a un país d’empreses d’alt valor afegit i sostenibilitat.

Per tot això no em puc creure que el seu govern estigui a favor d’aquest projecte.”

We take your money, then we blame you for being broke (part 1)

We already knew that the PP was going to do exactly what they are doing. Which is more or less the same that the PSOE did, just more “in your face”. Blaming the autonomous communities for the excessive Spanish public debt, even though they only account for 20% of the Spanish debt and manage the most expensive responsibilities, like education, healthcare or police forces. As we already mentioned here.

On December 2011 the Spanish Government failed to pay Catalonia 759 million euros which were committed on the 2011 Spanish budget and put the Catalan finances on a dire situation. For a few days it was unclear whether the Generalitat would be able to pay its workers (police, doctors, teachers, etc.). The Generalitat solved this by borrowing money. This situation hasn’t replicated anywhere in Spain. To this we should add another pending payment of 1450 million euros from the “competitivity fund” which Spain failed to pay Catalonia also on 2011.

This had the twofold effect of transferring the public deficit from Spain to Catalonia making their numbers look better, and simultaneously putting Catalonia on the verge of insolvency. Then in a display of hipocrisy Spain told off the Generalitat for its excessive deficit and threatened an intervention.

Now the Spanish Government has announced that they are preparing a law according to which the Spanish Government will have to supervise and approve the Autonomous Communities’ budgets. This would essentially mean the end of Catalonia’s self-government since the budget would have to be approved by the Spanish PP then Catalonia would effectively cease to be governed by CiU, the elected party. In fact it remains unclear whether that would even allowed by the Spanish Constitution. Even though that would probably not stop them since the Spanish Judiciary system is systematically being used to attack Catalonia’s self-government (like here or here)

While the PP has a point in pointing out that the Spanish Autonomous Communities have spent too much money it is also true that the PP governs in most Spanish Autonomous Communities which puts the blame right back on themselves for the mess.

This all goes back to the late seventies. In the post Franco period Spain never liked the idea of giving Catalonia a differentiated status and so as to dilute Catalonia’s personality gave the same status to any Spanish region that requested it. Thus creating a new set of Autonomous Communities with their Parliaments, flags, anthems, governments in regions where there was never a claim for self-government. This created a new layer of bureocracy and a regional political subsystem which has proved to be a source of money wasting and corruption.

Now, behind all these so called economic measures is the aim to achieve political targets against Catalonia while at the same time Spain fails to tackle the root of the problem problem which is a bloated state structure which wastes its resources on a things like an army which costs 16500 million euros a year or building high speed trains to rural areas (in the midst of a severe crisis Spain is the second country in the world after China in amount of high speed train kilometers under construction), to name just a few.

Using Catalonia as a scapegoat and stir xenophobia is irresponsible and the Catalan Government should take immediate action to stop this situation for once and forever.